Do we want the World Cup in Cincinnati?
The answer is a little more complicated than a cheerleading yes or a can’t-do no. It has a lot to do with how we see ourselves as a city. And even that notion can be skewed by more emotion than fact.
We’re one of 16 US cities vying for 10 spots for the 2026 Cup. FIFA will announce the winners June 16. The only catch is, Hamilton County commissioners have to approve the bid by Thursday. That is today.
There’s no middle ground on this one. You’re good with it, or you’re not.
I’ve read most everything I could find on the subject. Questions aren’t all answered.
More:On eve of World Cup bid vote, Cincinnati chamber urges county: ‘Show how serious we are’
More:Jason Williams: Why Hamilton County commissioners must approve $10M stadium upgrade for World Cup
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How many matches would we get? Sixty matches will be held in the US. So, six matches per city? The always ballyhoo-ed “economic impact” could change, one way or the other.
The agreement with FIFA would obligate HamCo to pay “at least” $10 mil to reconfigure PBS to soccer standards. It would mean rearranging some seats to expand the current playing surface.
What is “at least” and how do we make sure it stays around the estimated number?
Mostly, there is this:
Be wary of statements touting economic impact. Very often, they are commissioned by folks who want the projects built. This one was. Trumpeting the economic benefits of any stadium project should evoke your cynicism. From the Enquirer:
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” FC Cincinnati co-CEO Jeff Berding told The Enquirer’s “That’s So Cincinnati” podcast Wednesday. “We’re trying to showcase Cincinnati as a global destination. We’re trying to recruit companies to expand our economy, to bring more jobs here.”
Global destination? Perhaps. Maybe not. Olympic host cities are testament to the often unfounded belief that the Games will be an economic and image-polishing bonanza. Read a story or two on the fate of some of the biggest venues in Athens, where the Summer Games were held in 2004.
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The advantages of investing in pro sports are largely intangible. Is Atlanta more of a global player now than it was before 1996? It’s hard to see in 2022 how the Reds are luring a young and emerging work force to Cincinnati.
Don’t support this believing Cincinnati will suddenly become (more) major league. Don’t say yes convinced that Cup matches here will leave “a long-lasting legacy for the region for many years to come,” as stated in a letter written to the commissioners by leaders of local chambers of commerce.
Support it because it’s the right thing to do. It demonstrates our town’s intention to be a player, albeit on a smaller stage. We’re never going to be NY, LA, Chicago etc., and that’s fine. Some of us live here because of the region’s manageable size and quality of life. But we still need to be in the gameagainst whoever we play.
Cincinnati has languished some, because of thinking that suggests, “We like who we are. If you don’t, there’s the door.” We don’t often dream big. I’ll recall forever the scorn Nick Vehr puts in his effort to bring the Olympics to our region. Was it crazy? Yeah, probably. Did it require some optimism and forward thinking that we sometimes lack? Yes it did.
Think of Cup matches here as a scaled-down Olympics. Vehr’s dream in miniature and attainable.
Think about this, too: Events like this have a better chance to resonate in smaller cities than in bigger ones. Cincinnati would celebrate its Cup matches more completely. In Big Town, they’re just another big event. Los Angeles doesn’t need another mega-happening to validate its relevance.
Every so often, our reach needs to exceed our grasp. We’ll be left behind if it doesn’t.
Don’t believe the economic impact hype. Do trust the intangibles and the thinking behind them. The commissioners need to thumbs-up the bid.
Now, then . . .
HUNTER GREENE, ENDLESSLY FASCINATING . . . Those who judge Greene by his numbers are missing the point. His numbers aren’t good. His future should be. Last night in Boston was Greene’s rookie season in one great/awful hour. One minute, he’s striking out eight Red Sox in three-plus innings. The next, he can’t get anybody out.
The difference wasn’t a lack of talent. It was inexperience. Recall, Greene has pitched all of 227 professional innings, 179 of them in the minors. He has been dominant in at least 11 of his 48 MLB innings. Don’t sweat the ERA, savor the way the slider so easily explodes from his hand.
More:Hunter Greene starts fast, loses control fast in Cincinnati Reds’ loss to Red Sox
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Here’s another thought: Have Castillo teach him the changeup.
If you want to see opposing hitters contort like Gumby, have Greene blitz them with 101, then come back with 84. They’ll look like cats on a hot tin roof. Greene’s slider is already big league, but the best starters have a third pitch, and it’s usually the change.
Louis: Cambio, for favor.
IF YOU WANT TO WORRY, save it for the bats. The Club is Bottom 10 in nearly every offensive category. Last night, three of the nine in the order were hitting below .200. Aquino was at .109. The bats in the minors aren’t lighting it up, either.
When the deals start getting done in a couple months, that’s where the attention needs to be.
RUFUS ALERT . . . Saw the new Top Gun movie Wednesday. It was terrific, even for someone who doesn’t always enjoy big-budget shoot-em-ups. Maverick is being phased out, or so he is told. Drones are in, aces are so last week. That’s a metaphor for the Hollywood Superstar, too, if you’re looking. Tom Cruise is the last of the big box office tribe. Streaming has made the movie landscape a different place.
But Cruise has survived. Movies like this one – and the MI series – are why. Great action, worthy plot lines. TML sez ckitout on the big screen, where it’s meant to be.
AND NOW. . .
Michelle has art for your soul.
Summer Fair ~ Coney Island Friday June 3 – Sun June 5, Summerfair has been dazzling us with artists from all over the country for over 50 years. There will be over 300 hundred artists displaying some really cool stuff. Food and drinks available
Art on Vine ~ Fountain Square Sunday June 5, noon-6. Come support local artists, a great way to meet the people behind your favorite purchases. Food, drinks at the bar on the square, mingle and enjoy.
Finally.. The Van Gogh Exhibit ~ The Immersive Experience is here and you’re going to LOVE it. This amazing digital art experience will take over the old iconic Gidding-Jenny department store at 18 W. Fourth St. June 1- Aug. You will be amazed as you walk through this unique venue where the walls and floors light up with Van Gogh art like you’ve never seen before in virtual reality displays. The exhibit has traveled to cities around the world and I will tell you that it isn’t to be missed. Grab your scheduled tickets now at vangoghexpo.com
To Kill a Mockingbird at the Aronoff ~ Now thru June 12th. I got to check it out and it was the performance that really engaged you and even had a touch of humor (who’d thought?). Bonus: John Boy from the Waltons is Atticus or for the younger peeps Wendy’s dad on Ozark 🙂
Imbiber Dave has an eight-course dinner.
There was some pretty serious all caps imbibing over the holiday weekend. Visiting Chicago is always a blast, but this time we left our beautiful children at home. Now I could write 5000 words about that, but since the point of this blog is not to incite rage amongst the readership, let’s just move on the fun bits.
Friday entailed dinner with friends at a new wine focused restaurant called Alpana. This place reminded me of LouVino in Cincinnati and Ripple in Covington. I enjoyed that all of us were encouraged to get a glass of whatever we were feeling, or would pair best with our meal. Bubbles for my bride of course, and a Maris French Syrah Grenache that was excellent, not just with the tuna crudo and octopus, but perfect with their spin on a vodka sauce that incorporated Grappa as the spirit.
Saturday we got to see Coldplay at Soldier Field, one of our favorite bands and always an insane amount of energy packed into a few hours time. This is a key chapter in the how to imbibe field guide.
Despite all of this being pretty epic, it was a wind up for a bucket list item I’ve been hoping to check off for many years. Our friends were able to snag a table at Alinea, Grant Achatz’s three star Michelin restaurant.
We don’t do fine finding often, not only because it is almost embarrassingly expensive, but because often times the tone isn’t even as fun as the chill wine bar with old friends.
This place is an absolute exception. The energy is fabulous, with a hospitable staff that makes everything fun despite being one of the most intricate gastronomic experiences you will ever have.
It would do it little justice to try to recreate the eight course dinner, each of which had at least dishes and many surprises. The charred Arctic char, Thai scallop, and truly most insane truffle wagyu you could imagine were our favorites. The wine was superb as well, and surprisingly approachable if you’d like to buy a bottle for a dinner party at a later date. Our favorite was the Muga Tempranillo Rioja Reserva from Spain.
Glad this doesn’t post until Thursday, because I still haven’t fully absorbed how this crew pulled it off. Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and spend time with your most important people.
TUNE O’THE DAY. . . I once won a karaoke contest at a West Side bar, for singing this tune.